Just like humans, the way dog breeds look changes over time. This is due to hundreds of years of breeding, which changes the way a dog looks. The last 100 years, specifically, have had a big impact on how a particular dog breed appears and that is due in large part to us. Since dogs are man’s best friend, we have deemed it our responsibility to pick out our favorite coat colors, sizes and personalities and mate together different dog breeds that have these traits to create “perfect” dogs. By doing this, we have created over 160 unique dog breeds.
To help us visualize this dog breed evolution, a blog called Science and Dogs shared several photos from a book called “Dogs of All Nations” of the way dogs looked then (meaning 1915) and how they appear in present day. On this Throwback Thursday, let’s take a look at some of our favorite dog breeds from 1915 and now.
One of my favorite dog breeds, the Basset Hound, has gotten even closer to the ground during the last 100 years, believe it or not. Because of this and a different rear leg structure, the Basset is more prone to back problems these days. Another obvious difference are those ears! Look how much longer they have gotten.
English bulldogs have always looked like the bodybuilders of the dog world. It’s crazy how much bigger this dog breed has gotten over time. Unfortunately, it’s this dog’s very shape which we find endearing that limits its average lifespan to a little over six years. English bulldogs cannot have puppies or make puppies without medical assistance.
Many of us know the Bull Terrier as “The Target Dog,” but this dog breed is hardly recognizable 100 years ago. The Bull Terrier from 1915 is actually cute and resembles other athletic-looking dogs from the Sporting Group. Now, this dog’s ears are pointy, the skull has completely changed, and its mid-section is much thicker. The Bull Terrier is the most drastic example of how dog breeding can affect a dog’s looks over time.
The average dog observer (myself included) calls the German Shepherd one of the most beautiful dog breeds we have. However, when looking at the 1915 version of a German Shepherd, you realize that, actually, this breed used to look even better. You can see how much longer the German Shepherd’s legs used to be and how straight its back was. “Dogs of All Nations” states that this dog breed used to weigh an average of 55 pounds. Now, average weight is 85 pounds.
The big, furry St. Bernard is one of our most loved dog breeds mainly because of how it looks. It didn’t always have its trademark cuddly appearance, though. The St. Bernard used to be a working dog, but thanks to the evolution in breeding this dog has experienced, it couldn’t survive working anymore. We’ve bred them to have more skin, which is nice to look at, but, if he tried to work, the St. Bernard would overheat quickly.